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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory puts on stellar performance

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With wide eyes and a dropped jaw, I stare intently at the human-sized squirrels dancing on stage while they tear the limbs off of a ballerina mannequin. The Broadway musical “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory,” performed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, was filled with dances and scenes just as confusing yet incredible as the giant, evil squirrels.

Dean of Student Services Larry Hensley and Theatre Department Chair Kim Brueggemann accompanied a group of students on a trip to New York City on Sunday, Nov. 12 to see the musical. The trip allowed students to get an insight into the impressive work performed on Broadway.

The unique plotline of the musical captured the creative scenes and elements that are presented in the most recent edition of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.” They stayed true to the original story, yet added modern aspects such as social media, phones, tablets and several other pieces of technology. It was refreshing to see the cast take their own spin on the production and truly engulf themselves into their roles.

Not only were the stage props and costumes phenomenal, but the strongest aspect of the show was the cast’s impressive and powerful performances. The infamous Willy Wonka (Christian Borle) put on a fantastic performance filled with energy to keep the audience engaged and entertained. His vocals were perfect for his part due to his unique inflection of tone and enthusiasm in his speech. Borle has been in multiple Broadway productions including: “Legally Blonde,” “Mary Poppins,” “Footloose,” and several others.

With such a wide range of ages between all of the characters, it was interesting to see the stage dynamic between the younger and older cast members. The inspiring character of Charlie Bucket (Jake Ryan Flynn) is extremely talented, showcasing his strong vocals throughout the show. Flynn is only 11 years old and put on an amazing performance that left the audience in awe as he added his own take on the character of Charlie and truly went above and beyond with his performance.

Throughout the whole musical, each character made side comments or jokes to better appeal to the audience and stray away from the original storyline. With their unique takes on their parts, each scene was better than the last.

One element of the show that was not as prominent as other aspects was the band. Typically, the orchestra is a prominent factor in a Broadway performance. However, due to the other elements of the musical, not much attention was drawn to the orchestra. The songs were more focused on the vocals of the cast rather than all of the instruments.

Although the band was not lively, the score for the musical was perfect for the peculiar plot line. The crescendo within each solo performance allowed for the actors to start out with small moments which then grew into strong powerful songs.

Overall, the show was outstanding and had impressive performances from each cast member. The musical will be performed through September 2018.

Anna Sullivan is an Entertainment Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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